Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Thursday, 29 March, 2018.

Thu, 29 Mar 2018
From the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) came yesterday a declaration that the N13.5 million reportedly collected by senators as running cost is illegal.
According to the commission, the payment is not covered by the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances) (Amendments) Act 2008 governing emoluments of political office holders in the country.

RMAFC said only the National Assembly Service Commission could explain how the senators came to be paid such an unapproved allowance.

The commission’s clarification was contained in a statement issued yesterday by its spokesman, Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed.

He said the clarification became imperative in view of the recent revelation by one of the senators, Mr. Shehu Sani, who said each senator collects a monthly running cost of N13.5 million in addition to the monthly salary of N750,000.00.

According to RMAFC, the law on salaries and allowances of public office holders is very clear and as such it is only the management of the National Assembly Service Commission that can explain the N13.5 million running cost allegedly being enjoyed by each senator as the Act only covers salary and allowances but not running cost.

Read More: Senate moves to reorder sequence of elections

“A closer look at the monthly entitlement of senators reveals that each of them collects salary and allowances to the sum of N1,063,860:00 consisting of the following: basic, N168,866:70; motor vehicle fuelling and maintenance allowance N126,650:00; personal assistant N42,216:66; domestic staff-126,650:00; entertainment, N50,660:00; utilities, N50,660:00; newspapers/periodicals, N25,330:00; wardrobe, N42,216,66:00; house maintenance, N8,443.33:00; and constituency, N422,166:66.

“It is instructive to note that some allowances are regular while others are non-regular. Regular allowances are paid regularly with basic salaries while non-regular allowances are paid as at when due.

“For instance, furniture allowance (N6,079,200:00); and severance gratuity (N6,079,200:00) are paid once in every tenure while motor vehicle loan-(N8,105,600:00) is optional which the beneficiary has to offset before leaving office. The payment of running cost is not part of RMAFC mandate, therefore only the National Assembly can explain it,” the commission noted.

It added that any other payments enjoyed by any political, or public office holders outside those provided in the Remuneration Act of 2008 were not known to the commission and the chief accounting officer of the agencies concerned should explain them.

To avoid misinformation and misrepresentation of facts capable of misleading citizens and members of the international community, the commission advised Nigerians and any other interested party to avail themselves of the opportunity to access the actual details of the present remuneration package for political, public and judicial office holders in Nigeria published on its official website.

But, in its reaction, the upper legislative chamber insisted that the N13.5 million monthly running cost for each senator was legal and provided for in the Appropriations Act.

Thu, 29 Mar 2018
President Muhammadu Buhari is set to lay a foundation stone for the $1.5 billion Lekki Deep Seaport, the first in the country.
The seaport situated at the heart of the Lagos Free Trade Zone, will be one of the most modern ports in West Africa, offering enormous support to the burgeoning commercial operations across Nigeria and the entire West Africa.

When completed, the port will have three container berths, one dry bulk berth, three liquid berths, 16.5-meter draught, 600-meter turning cycle and a 2.7 million Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (TEUs) per year.

Built on more than 90 hectares of land, the Lekki port is situated 65 kilometers east of Lagos city and its is billed to be completed in 2020.

According to Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise, “the development of Lekki Deep Sea Port has been conceptualised on the basis of a significant gap in projected demand and capacity.

Market studies indicate that the demand for containers is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.9 per cent up to 2025. However, given the expansion constraints on the existing infrastructure, the capacity in Lagos is incapable to meet the growing demand.

“The capacity shortfall for container terminal facilities in Lagos was projected to be 0.8 million TEUs in 2016 going up to 5.5 million TEUs in 2025.

The strategic location, flexible and optimised layout and modern facilities provide Lekki port a distinct competitive edge over any other port facility in West Africa.”

The Chief Executive Officer of the enterprise, Navin Nahata, commended Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the major stakeholders in the project, for their unwavering support.

Nahata noted that the commencement of construction and the quick progress recorded so far could not have been possible without the stakeholders. He also commended the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, as well as other regulatory agencies for their commitment to making the port a reality. He praised the host communities for being peaceful and supportive.

Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Co-operatives, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, assured the management of Lekki Port of the unwavering commitment of the Governor Akinwumi Ambode-led administration towards the actualisation of the project.

The Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, reaffirmed the support and partnership of the Federal Government to the project through the Ports Authority.

Meanwhile, as Buhari visits today, the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has planned to embark on another round of street protest over the controversial land use charge.

The association, through its chairman, Mr. Adeshina Ogunlana told newsmen yesterday that the protest was a response to the failure of the state government and the House of Assembly to meet its demands.

It was reported that the public hearing organised by the lawmakers turned rowdy on Tuesday as Ogunlana led his team to stage a walkout, insisting that the notice to submit their memorandum was too short.

The group of lawyers lined up the protest to ‘welcome’ Buhari to Lagos, notwithstanding the work-free day declared by the state government.
Ogunlana said the protest would hold at 2:00 p.m. after the president would have commissioned a newly built bus terminal in Ikeja.

Thu, 29 Mar 2018
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision not to sign the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement, describing the last minute withdrawal as a disappointment.
The treaty is one of the flagship projects of the African Union Agenda 2063, aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments and one currency.

The Federal Government had delayed the signing of the treaty to allow for more deliberations and input from stakeholders, The government has set up a committee to work on the agreement before the President would sign it.

Speaking at the 6th Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Obasanjo expressed the hope that President Buhari would sign before it is too late.

“Egypt started the discussion about the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, but didn’t conclude it and Nigeria took over. Nigeria was central to the discussion of the free trade agreement, but I am surprised that the country withdrew from signing.

“That President Buhari didn’t sign the free trade agreement in Kigali is disappointing, I hope he signs it before it is too late,” he said.

Obasanjo called on the continent leaders to increase youth and women participation in politics.

“In our own part of the world, we have not done enough in this regard. Since independence, we have never had any woman as president or vice president; no woman has contested governorship election and won.

“In the coming dispensation, all organs of political parties should have 30 per cent slots for women, 30 per cent for the youth, and 40 per cent for the others.”

The former president said it was disheartening that the number of women in the National Assembly in Nigeria was still very insignificant.”

Thu, 29 Mar 2018
The maiden edition of the Chioma Ajunwa Under-16 Athletics Championship for Secondary Schools in Abia State began yesterday at the Umuahia Township Stadium with 34 schools participating. Flagging off the competition organized by the foundation founded by Mrs. Chioma Ajunwa-Opara,a 1996 Olympics gold medalist, Abia State Commissioner for Sports, Dr. Martins Okoji, on behalf of [] 

Thu, 29 Mar 2018
Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung yesterday described the democratisation of sports federations as one of his ministry's main achievements since 2015. Dalung gave his ministry's scorecard since 2015 to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday and thereafter told State House correspondents that the development had improved performances in sports and given confidence [] 

Thu, 29 Mar 2018
As President Muhammadu Buhari makes his debut state visit to Lagos today, it would be an expected lockdown on the city that never sleeps, the 5th largest economy in Africa. 

Thu, 29 Mar 2018
Bolting out of the gate President Trump's administration set a very low bar for leadership, when at his behest his press secretary told the American people and the watching world that Trump's inauguration drew the largest crowds and television audiences in history. A painfully pathetic falsehood in the face of verifiable evidence at odds with [] 

Thu, 29 Mar 2018
Equity transactions on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) continued on a downward trend yesterday, following price losses suffered by some blue chip stocks, as investors lose N235 billion in three trading days. 

Thu, 29 Mar 2018
The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the constitution so the second will not become the legalised version of the first - Thomas Jefferson I will commence with emphasizing the impact of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and its valuable application in [] 

Thu, 29 Mar 2018
The Middle Belt Youth Council (MBYC) and Middle Belt Forum of Nigeria have backed Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma over his remarks indicting security agencies of complicity in the killings in the country. They also decried the alleged indecisiveness on the part of the President Muhammadu Buhari to rein in the perpetrators. The groups described as [] 

Thu, 29 Mar 2018
EbonyLife Ltd, owners of Africa's first Global Black TV Network and producers of premium, original content and Sony Pictures Television (SPT), have announced that they will co-develop three exciting new scripted TV projects with SPT set to distribute internationally. The three-project deal, the first of its kind between SPT and a Nigerian production company, will [] 

Thu, 29 Mar 2018
To manage her internal and external debts effectively and move the state forward economically, Enugu State government will soon establish a Debt management office (DMO) in the state. This follows the submission of report on the bill that would allow for the provision of law for the establishment of the office by a joint committee [] 

Thu, 29 Mar 2018
Instead of turning themselves into professional murmurers and lamenters, the perpetually-insinuating people of Kwara state only need to take a look over their shoulders to see the ongoing transformation in their backyard to believe that good things can also happen in the 'State of Harmony'. Reference here is to Osun state. Eight years ago, [] 
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